Exact times or a range when you schedule cleaning appointments with customers? Exact times work best. The world runs off a calendar and you can’t keep a roster of accounts if you keep showing up late.
Do your inventory the night before and keep your cleaning caddy prepared in advance. Work from a timetable and practice time management. Be on time for work and clients will refer more jobs to you. Start and end a job on time.
Listen: Exact Times or a Range for Cleaning?
Watch: Exact Times or a Range for Cleaning?
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Should You Give Clients Exact Times or a Range?
Exact times or range for cleaning, which should I give my customers? That is a great question and we’re going to talk about that today.
We’ve had customers that ask, “Is it better to have an exact time that you’re going to give your customer or should you give them a range. Like I’m going to be there between 9:00 and 11:00 in the morning?”
All right, so there are two schools of thought on this and you’re going to get mine. What works for us best is this, exact times.
Give Your Customers an Exact Time
Exact times is how I ran my business for 25 years. So what happens is you give the customer an exact time. I will be there at 8:30 in the morning on Wednesday.
What happens is at 8:30 in the morning, you’re on their doorstep with your cleaning caddy. This way you never run into a customer that’s in the shower.
They’re ready and expecting you because you send your text in advance to let them know that you’re on your way.
Giving Exact Times Can Lead to Referrals
Now, we’ve had customers that will turn and recommend us to their friends and they say, “You can set your clock by the time that Angela arrives. She has the qualities of a great house cleaner.”
The reason being is everyone in our company is in the same program. So if I’m exactly on time and my employees are exactly at the same time. Then it is part of our company culture, it is part of our company brand.
All of our customers expect it. All right, so in order for that to happen, what you have to do is you have to arrive on time and you have to leave on time. Because you have to leave on time to get to your next house and keep your reputation.
Your Customers Will Start to Expect Exact Times
And so what happens is the customers always know she’s going to be here at a certain time, she’s going to be gone by a certain time and they start to expect that.
Okay, here’s why this is important. There are lots of customers who have different appointments. They have jobs, they have other things going on. If they don’t know when you’re coming and they don’t know when you’re leaving, they have to hang out all day at the house waiting.
Not Having Exact Times Causes Problems With Customers
Not giving your customers exact times creates a lot of problems. Because if you’re late, they’re late for their appointments or waiting for you.
And you run into a lot of problems where you get to the customer’s house and you don’t want them there. But if they know that you’re arriving from this time and you’ll be gone by this time, they can go run their errands and come back.
And during that time that you’re there, they run their errands. When they come back, you’re out of their way, their house is clean. So it eliminates so many problems.
Go, Do Your Job, and Leave at an Exact Time
So, my suggestion is picking an exact time, go do your job at the exact time, and then leave at an exact time. Now in order for you to be able to do this, there are a couple of things that have to happen. You have to have these in place otherwise it won’t work.
Okay, so the first is inventory. You have to do your inventory the night before. You have to pack your cleaning caddies in a car because there’s no time between customers’ houses.
There’s no time between houses to find your supplies. You have to throw it in your car, grab the next set and go, so do it the night before.
You Need Reliable Transportation to Arrive at the Exact Time
All right, another thing that has to happen is you must have reliable transportation.
If you’re on a car that the tire has a slow leak and you’ve got to fill it up between houses or whatever, that’s not going to work.
You have to have reliable transportation that’s going to get you there every single time on time.
Work From a Checklist to Stay on Time
The other issue is you also have to work from a checklist because if you don’t work you might stay too long at an extra messy house. Your checklist says this is all the stuff that I got done today.
This is all the stuff that I’m guaranteeing for my work. Then they know, “Oh, she’s only going to be here for a couple of hours.“
And they know what that window is because you arrive and leave at the same time every time. They know about how much you’re capable of. This keeps you and the customer on schedule.
How to Stay on Time When the House is Extra Messy
If the house is extra messy when you get there, you have to give them a heads up. “Hey listen, the house has extra stuff going on today. Are there priorities because I’m not going to make it through my regular routine?”
You give them a quick heads up at the top of your shift and then they say, “Okay, here’s what you can skip. Skip this room today, skip this room today“.
That way you can get through as much of the stuff that’s important to them that you’re going to check off on the list.
Your Checklist is Your Guarantee
Now, the only things that you checked off on your checklist are the things that you’re guaranteeing. That way you’re allowed to get out at a certain time and get to the next customer’s house.
But one other problem is there’s a lot of loitering where house cleaners are waiting for their pay. Somebody’s going to write you a check and they got to go get their purse and they’re chit-chatting and they waste a lot of your time.
If you have to leave at a certain time that payment has to already be there. And so that’s another good reason we put people on automatic credit card payments so that you don’t have to worry about it. I can get to my next customer’s house. It’s just one click and you’re done.
Geographical Location of Your Clients is Important to Being on Time
The next thing that’s important is geographical location because if you’re going from one house to the next, it’s got to be in the same area. If you’re going one street over, you have 15 minutes to do that.
If you’re going 45 minutes across town, you wasted 45 minutes driving across town. If anything happens 45 minutes on the drive, you’re screwed on the time, you’re not going to be able to make it.
You have to get into a habit. Set everything up every time you clean so that it flows smoothly from house to house.
Once You Have an Exact Time it Becomes Systematic
The good news is this, it becomes very systematic. It becomes something you can count on. You can count on your employees. Your employees know you’re going to start at a certain time.
So if your employees have doctor’s appointments, they can plan their appointments. And so it’s not like, “Oh well I’m going to have to take the day off because I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon.”
They know exactly when they’re getting off work because they get off work every day at the same time. And so that way everyone can plan their lives and avoid problems.
Exact Time or Range is Your Choice
Whether you want exact times or a range is your choice. It’s up to you because it’s your business.
But if you ask me, I say exact times. The world runs on effective scheduling and doctor’s appointments run on a schedule. They know how many appointments they can fit in the course of a day. They know when they need you in, they know when they need you gone in order for the next person to come in.
It’s the exact same thing in house cleaning. So in order for you to run a schedule and be efficient, you have to work off of a schedule. Time is one of our most valuable resources, and you don’t want to waste it.
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